‘Opportunities opened in PH hosting of APEC’


Gains made during the Philippines’ hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit will not be immediately felt and should instead be viewed as opportunities, an analyst said.

“It is wrong to surmise, as critics would want people to believe, that when we wake up tomorrow everything will be better because of the summit–far from it,” said Justino Calaycay Jr., analyst at Accord Capital Equities Corp.

The country’s hosting of the 21-member forum’s annual gathering, which culminated in this week’s leaders’ summit in Metro Manila, has been criticized in that Filipinos had to deal with a host of troubles—from massive traffic jams to lost business—in exchange for speeches and talk.

Calaycay, however, noted that discussions over the year had led to advances in APEC’s blueprint for the region, adding that bringing the forum’s leaders together further defined and strengthened relationships.

“This is something future administrations can build on, and the Filipinos will reap benefits from,” he said.

APEC leaders, among others, called for more global cooperation against terrorism, expanding the forum’s focus from the usual trade and economic declarations directed at achieving the forum’s central Bogor Goals and the realization of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.

Senior officials also produced the Boracay Action Agenda aimed at supporting medium, small and micro-enterprises (MSMEs) and the Cebu Action Plan (CAP) that focused on financial integration.

The Boracay Agenda, in particular, details interventions and programs that will help MSMEs access regional and global markets. An implementing plan was approved last week for the agenda, drawn up by APEC trade ministers last May in Boracay.

The CAP, meanwhile, approved last September by APEC finance ministers in Cebu, moved forward with the launch of the Financial Infrastructure Development Network (FIDN).

The FIDN will help transform financial systems in region by expanding the reach of credit and other financial services. It is particularly aimed MSMEs, whose development seen as a significant factor in helping reduce poverty.

Besides the regional initiatives, the Philippines also signed various bilateral agreements with APEC member economies that are expected to benefit the domestic economy and boost national security.

The country committed to work together with Mexico to combat drug trafficking; formalized a strategic partnership with Vietnam and a comprehensive partnership with Australia, and received an expanded military aid package from the United States, among others.


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